Response to consultations on sibling groups and contact
The Fostering Network is calling on the Government to recognise the need for careful and evidence-based decisions when deciding whether to split up sibling groups for adoption in England.
The charity has responded to Call for Views: Placing of Children in Sibling Groups for Adoption by saying that the Government must take a broader approach and place the focus firmly on securing permanence for children; when possible, with their own parents, if not, then within their extended family and if this is not possible, through adoption, foster care or special guardianship.
Splitting up sibling groups so that one of the group can be adopted will not be, in many cases, the best option for all of the children. The Government need to ask how families willing to offer a permanent home to sibling groups can be better supported, rather than just support those families who are willing to adopt a single child or selection of children from a sibling group.
Robert Tapsfield, chief executive of the Fostering Network, said: “What is needed is a focus on improving practice, not on tinkering with the law. The Government need to recognise that securing a family placement that can meet a child’s needs is the goal, rather than focussing solely on adoption.
“Decisions on whether to place siblings together or separately are usually enormously complex and have lifelong implications. They need to take into account the views of the children and the experience of their current foster carers.”
The Fostering Network has also responded to the Government consultation Call for Views: Review of Contact Arrangements for Children in Care, saying that the positive approach of the Children Act 1989 to reasonable contact between looked-after children and their parents is robust and that the organisation opposes the proposed changes to the law.
Robert continued: “We consider that maintaining some level of contact when this is in the child’s interests is the right approach, and it would be a negative step for the law to water this down. When decisions about contact and the best interests of the child are made, the views of foster carers should always be taken into account as part of the team around the child and so should the views of the child.”
You can find our detailed responses to the consultations on the Fostering Network website: Call for Views: Placing of Children in Sibling Groups for Adoption and Call for Views: Review of Contact Arrangements for Children in Care.